Without question when you think of ‘comfort food’ the Italian cuisine is usually near the top of the list. It’s hard to go anywhere in the world where the Italian nation isn’t represented by at least a few restaurants. Pasta, pizza and antipasto the list of enticing options are only limited by the chef’s imagination but if they step too far away from the traditional recipe handed down beware the wrath of the Italian mama. Graziella Italian Restaurant in Alona is a stalwart of the restaurant scene and has a good following amongst locals and tourists alike.
It has been remiss of us not reviewing the restaurant as we have eaten there several times. Our evening started by being warmly welcomed (by name) by one of the owners even though we have not dined at the restaurant for several months. This personal welcome instantly makes you feel more at home and is a rare talent when you consider the number of patrons who dine every year.
We started our meal with carpaccio, a wafer thin beef tenderloin drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. If we stopped the review here this would inevitably be our first 4.5 star restaurant. The beef tenderloin was exquisitely delicate with just the right amount of seasoning and tang from the lemon. This may seem a simple dish but it really is the hallmark of a real Italian Chef. The beef was served with a range of quality olive oils, bread and balsamic vinegar. Simply a great start to our meal.
Unfortunately however, our mains didn’t shine anywhere near as well as our entree. While scooting a cat away from our table we were served our mains. The cat persisted to pester us until forcibly removed by one of the wait staff. (Restaurants are not a place for pet cats).
My partner had ordered the Pollo All’arancia (Chicken Breast in Orange Sauce) and I the Satimbocca All’arancia. Both dishes looked the part, well presented and glistening in their respective sauces. However the meals were simply tasteless. Whether this was because of the quality of the produce (always a challenge in Bohol) or due to lack of seasoning we were not sure but overall the mains were bland and did not have the ‘zing’ you would expect in the dishes. Previously we have enjoyed the pasta at Graziella so maybe we strayed too far away from their staples. Either way the restaurant shouldn’t be judged totally on a few dishes.
The staff members at the restaurant are warm and welcoming and while not trained as well as those at Giuseppe Pizzeria they do make you feel at home and add to the ‘comfort food’ ambiance. We are convinced that this restaurant can score higher but on the night we reviewed the restaurant the main course let it down.